I can hear the rain hammering down on the roof of the caravan as I wake and turn over in bed to check the time. A lone seagull floated past the window on the gusty breeze. It’s almost eight, so pretty much light out but everything’s grey. As I swing my legs over the edge of the bed, Willow swats my ankle and gallops full speed to the front of the caravan and back. She’s having what I affectionately call a ‘spaz’. She swats the end of my jeans as I pull them on and then jumps on the bed to watch me pick out something with sleeves.
I open the window in the bathroom as I’m brushing my teeth to ‘hear’ how breezy it is, not as strong as yesterday. I walk through to the front and switch on the Chromebook as I walk past it to check out the beach. Joggers, walkers, dogs and a couple of horses. Everyone getting their ‘beach’ on before these weekenders drive home to go back to work tomorrow.
I check the tide – high tide at eight fifty five. Safe for a brisk twenty minute walk ‘left’. The shape of the beach makes the café walk inaccessible quite quickly when the tide comes up. I zip up my fluorescent pick waterproof and lock the caravan. Not raining too much, I think, as I make my way down the steps and go left.
On my phone I set a ten minute timer and start at pace. The sand is much softer where it’s been raining and I take longer strides to give my sleepy legs a stretch. I take some deep breaths, in for four strides, out for four. I visualize my shoulders relaxing entirely, and do a couple of loose head rolls. By now I’ve settled in to my stride and I relax my breathing to just focus on a normal inhale and exhale. The rain on my face, the breeze on my hands. The water has whipped up a lot of the dark sand-mud mix from further out, so it looks quite alien. Definitely not a postcard look.
There’s a consistency and flow to the tides that I find comforting. On rough water days there’s a constant sound of rushing water that’s hypnotic. It’s that I focus on now as I march up the beach, my muscles getting a bit of a wake up call.
As I tap off the timer and turn back, the salt-laden breeze stings my face in the best way and every part of me has woken up now. A pit-bull bounds up to me with a stick, so I wrestle the stick from him, look around for his owners who are waving at me from about fifty yards away and I lob the stick towards them. The dog sprints for the stick, and then, instead of carrying on towards his owners, runs back to me and drops the stick.
The owners walk towards me, we end up chit-chatting for a good ten minutes in the rain while my new friend knackers himself out playing ‘fetch’. I walk back smiling to myself and, as I light the stove to re-heat the coffee, I send some silent ‘thankyous’ to the Universe, and sit down to write.